The Origin and Meaning of the
North Carolina Nicknames
The American citizens
who live in, or who come from North Carolina, are referred to as
North Carolinians. The history, origin and meaning of each of the nicknames are
The official nickname of the Tar Heel State alludes to the tar,
pitch, and turpentine, created from the enormous pine forests, that
were one of North Carolina's most important exports early in the
state's history. The nickname has been used as both a derogatory and
an affectionate term for many years. The above picture of a 'Tar
Heel' is taken from a postcard. The following poem was also printed
on the card:
the land of the Long Leaf Pine
The Summer land where the sun doth shine
Where the Weak grow Strong
And the Strong grow Great
Here's to North Carolina the good Old Tar Heel State"
The Old North nickname refer to the time in history, during the
early 1700's, when the territory was split into northern and
southern Carolina - the Old North was the affectionate name given in
memory of this turbulent time in history.
The Turpentine alludes to the extensive production of turpentine.
Turps is a thin essential oil obtained from the wood of pine trees
and used as a thinner for paints and varnishes.
The Land of
The Land of the Sky is the name of an 1896 book by American author
Frances Fisher Tieran (1864-1920), whose pen name was Christian
Reid. The Fisher family was rich but the Civil War (1861-1865)
caused the family to lose much of their money and Frances started to
write to earn extra money. Her story tells of travelers in western
North Carolina and the name was a perfect link to the rise of
tourism in the area.